Why social work could be the right job for you
Beccy Hopfensperger, Suffolk County Council Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care.
- Credit: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL / AMY BLOOMFIELD
The response I received to my last column, where I featured the story of one of our social workers, was so positive I thought I would share another story from the front line of adult social care.
This time Amy Bloomfield, a social worker from our Ipswich and East team, agreed to answer a few questions about her job as a social worker. I hope Amy’s story will encourage those interested in social work to start their career today, here in Suffolk.
Why did you want to become a social worker?
I wanted to become a social worker, due to my interests in mental health and my own family’s experiences with mental health and the services available. I felt my own lived experiences could help me better empathise and support others in their own challenging situations. Additionally, I have always felt very passionate about advocating for others, so they are able to access the support they need and to overcome any adversity they face.
What would a normal working day be like for you?
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No two days are the same in social work, but I often go out to visit within the community or care settings, like a care home. I also normally have a meeting or two with my team or other professionals; alongside contacting the adults I am working with and their families. Another key part of my working day is updating records and formulating care plans, reviewing packages of care, undertaking assessments of a person’s mental capacity (whether they can make a particular informed decision) and assessing needs of adults and their carer’s.
I also investigate potential safeguarding concerns – preventing the emotional, financial, and physical abuse, of adults who are unable to protect themselves. As social workers we support people to be safe and protected from harm.
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What is your favourite part of your job?
Definitely the variety of people that I work with and support who are a range of ages and come from a variety of backgrounds. I also enjoy managing complex situations that require creative solutions.
What is your proudest moment as social worker?
When I had worked with an older adult who lived in a hoarded home for a number of years and was fearful of social services, it was not known that at that time she was terminally ill. Working closely with her and building her trust in me over time, she was able to move into a nursing home with her cat, where she lived for a while before passing away. She told me that ‘it felt like home’, which she had never felt before, and that she finally felt ‘safe’.
What skills do you think social workers need?
Compassion, honesty, respect, and patience mainly. Most importantly you need to be able to empower people to overcome challenging situations and to have control over their own lives. Social work isn’t about us doing things to people – it is about people doing things for themselves with support.
Why is Suffolk the best place to be a social worker?
In my opinion Suffolk is the best place to be a social worker due to the variety of rural and urban settings that we work within. In my experience social workers in Suffolk have a large amount of support provided not only by their colleagues, but also by senior management. There are also great prospects for progression, including a funded master’s programme and a large variety of other funded training opportunities.
Social work is a really fulfilling career, which gives you the opportunity to meet a lot of people in different stages of their life and to support them in overcoming barriers or adversity, so they can be safe and achieve their aspirations.
If Amy's story has made you think becoming a social worker might be for you visit www.suffolk.gov.uk/jobs-and-careers/social-work-suffolk